It is always interesting to see how a team will respond after a tough loss. This week, eyes will be on the USC Trojans. They were taken down 30-27 in overtime last week against BYU. Now, they will host the No. 10 Utah Utes.
USC lost starting quarterback JT Daniels in Week 1 but Kedon Slovis stepped in and played a flawless game against Stanford. Slovis took a step back throwing three interceptions against BYU. This will be the biggest test that USC has faced so far.
Utah is doing what Utah does best, running the ball and playing defense. The Utes have allowed 9.3 points per game through three weeks. Zack Moss has eclipsed 100 yards in two out of three games and has scored four touchdowns. So far Tyler Huntley has been doing his job at quarterback. His numbers are not huge but he has thrown five touchdowns and is not turning the ball over.
Utah is up to No. 10 in the nation and deservedly so. They are a dark-horse team but going into USC is never an easy task.
Utah vs. USC Preview
With a true freshman quarterback, inconsistency tends to rear its ugly head. This is what happened with Slovis. After a tremendous game against Stanford in which he threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, he and his team went on the road and laid an egg. He will have to correct his mistakes quickly.
One positive for USC is that they will host Utah in this one. The Trojans are scoring 38 points per game at home this season. USC head coach Clay Helton acknowledged how a loss like they suffered against BYU can affect a team. It is important to move past it.
“It’s not a lot of time to feel sorry for yourself,” Helton said, via the Los Angeles Times. “That’s what everyone was saying in the locker room. ‘Hey, it’s one game, we’ve got to correct it and move on.’ We plan on doing big things this season and it’s early in the season.”
Like USC, Utah also went on the road to face BYU. For the Utes, it was a 30-12 victory where they rushed for nearly 250 yards and picked off BYU twice. This will be the biggest challenge of the season so far for No. 10 Utah but they are up for it.
“One of the challenges in coaching, you’ve got to keep the team on somewhat of an even keel,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a press conference on Monday. “You want to play with passion and energy. But you’ve got to play within the framework of the offense, defense without letting your emotions get the best of you.”
Utah vs. USC Pick & Prediction
Utah is not a high powered offense. Their run game is impressive but they do not have the explosiveness to put up 60 points on a given week like other programs. the o/u in this game is set at 51.5 and it is because of Utah’s style of play. They will go into the Coliseum as four-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
USC is a much better team at home. Their crowd provides an amazing atmosphere and the team feeds off it. In two starts, there is no comparison for their true freshman quarterback when he played at home and on the road.
In the end, Utah’s defense will be too strong. The ability to put a BYU loss behind them is something that is worrisome about USC and their youth. This will not be a blowout game. Expect a hard fought battle in the trenches.
PICK: Utah -4
SCORE PREDICTION: Utah 27, USC 20